From missile-launching battery-powered quadcopters to militarised zero-emission flying taxis for special forces, the demand for the Ministry of Defence to clean up its environmental act is forcing its main contractor, BAE Systems, to investigate a host of new net-zero technologies.

In the latest of a series of deals and partnerships, BAE has begun work with Pipistrel, a Slovenian manufacturer of light aircraft that has produced the Velis Electro, the first and so far only type-certified electric aircraft in the world. BAE wants to use the plane to pitch to become the supplier of choice to the RAF cadet and elementary flight training squadrons.

Under options in the Ministry of Defence’s unpublicised Project Telum, the plan is for the RAF to become the first